Beef Stifado

A Stifado is a meaty stew with beef and baby shallot onions, which originates from the Greek Islands. The best part is the thick sauce that is made slightly sweet by the onions.


1kg      Lean braising beef – cubed

500g    Baby shallot onions – peeled

1          Large onion chopped

1          Large juicy tomato – chopped

2 tbs     Tomato paste

½         Nutmeg crushed (or ½ tsp ground nutmeg)

1          Cinnamon stick

3          Cloves

4          Garlic cloves – finely chopped

1          Vegetable stock cube (optional)

3 tbs     Extra-virgin olive oil

1          Glass of red or white wine

2 tbs     Vinegar.

Rosemary sprig or two

Salt and black pepper

Preparation & Cooking

Add the beef to large frying pan or casserole dish. Place on a high heat, stirring occasionally until meat is sealed. Add the olive oil, chopped onions and garlic. Continue cooking on a high heat, until the onions have turned soft  (About 5 minutes).

Add wine and vinegar, leave on heat but covered for another 5 minutes. Next add the nutmeg, cinnamon, cloves, bay leaves, rosemary, stock cube and a good pinch of black pepper. Keep stirring while the ingredients blend, on a moderate heat. Add salt to taste.

Keep heating while adding the chopped tomatoes and tomato paste.

Turn out into a casserole dish with lid. Add 1 litre of hot water so as to cover the meat. Cook in oven on 180°C until the meat is nearly cooked – about 60 minutes.

While waiting, peel the baby shallot onions, wash them and shallow fry them in a little olive oil, until soft, not letting them burn.

Add the shallots (but not the oil) to the simmering meat and leave in the oven until the meat is thoroughly cooked (soft and tender) – at least another hour – add water if needed (don’t let it dry out), so that you end up with a rich thick sauce.


Originally, rabbit was used instead of beef. Other variations use lamb.


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